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mydeco 3D Room Planner intro 30 July, 2010

Posted by Annie Deakin in Uncategorized.
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mydeco 3D Room Planner helps you to design your own room in photo-realistic 3D. All you need is an internet connection to get started.
Choose from over 75,000 models of real furniture, wallpaper, paint, flooring and accessories todecorate your room. Add doors, windows and architectural features to customize your room. This short video gives an overview of how to use the tool to create your own 3D room design.
Try it for yourself at mydeco.com

mydeco previews the OKA 2010 summer collection 23 March, 2010

Posted by CandidaB in Candida's blog.
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OKA cottage

Image credit: OKA

Being a longstanding OKA fan, I am always excited to see what the new season has in store. Whether you live in the country or the city, their luxurious take on rustic wares has something to suit pretty much every home and garden. This season, with Ben Fogle as their new ambassador, it was refreshing to see that they have moved towards a younger, more contemporary aesthetic, with bright colours and modern designs. British garden lunches are about to get very stylish…

Coral plates OKA

Image credit: OKA

I was particularly taken with their coral chinaware (pictured above), featuring simple white plates with a raised coral border in a lovely deep red. The coral centerpiece, in the same red, would also make a young, fresh addition to any summer lunch.

I also fell head over heels in love with their Mediterranean-style textiles, with warm cornflower blues on a simple white background, taking you straight to a world of margheritas and hazy summer siestas.

OKA blue and white cushions

Image credit: Candida Balfour

And last but not least: the garden furniture. Practical but stylish, the OKA team have honed their outdoor collection to perfection. Don’t worry – the trusty staples are still there, but this season’s new additions are a must for anyone wanting to jazz up their garden in time for Easter. The best-selling rattan garden furniture, the Luccombe range, now comes in a warm pale grey, looking wonderfully weathered straight out of the warehouse. We love the new East Hampton double sunbed, which is as stylish as a sofa, with matching pale grey cushions. (Ideal for those hazy siestas). An added bonus – it is water resistant.

East Hampton sunbed OKA

Image credit: OKA

And last but by no means least, the new parasols should be top of everyone’s list. Big and beautiful, they put every bog standard garden umbrella to shame.

OKA parasols

Image credit: Candida Balfour

Cookie Girl launches new cupcake book 23 March, 2010

Posted by mydecoblog in Book reviews, Ellie's blog.
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The sweet-toothed residents of Notting Hill have loved her from their first delicious mouthful and she now has the likes of Annie Lennox, Take That, Russell Brand (‘I’m in love!’), and Grecian Princesses amongst her fanbase. Even Scrooge will be licking his lips before Christmas. No, it’s not Mother Theresa’s cook whisking up good cheer, but Cookie Girl taking the world of baking by a buttercream storm.

Cookie Girl and her new cupcake book

Image credit: Ebury Press

Otherwise known as Xanthe Milton, (above, left) Cookie Girl started off by donning Alice in Wonderland-esque costumes and knocking on the doors of Notting Hill. To cut the story short, since then her success and popularity has risen as perfectly as her delicious cakes. (I’ve gobbled a few myself so this analogy is spot on, believe me).

She’s just launched her very first book, EAT ME! – a self-confessed ‘stupendous, self-raising world of cupcakes and bakes’. mydeco got in touch to ask her about the launch’s Alice in Wonderland theme: ‘I couldn’t think of a better venue than the Paradise By Way of Kensal Green pub with its over sized lampshades and whimsical interior; it was just magical and fitted with the book’s fairy tale style.’

delicious Eat Me! cupcakes by Cookie Girl

Image Credit: Eat Me! cupcakes from Ebury Press

‘At the launch I read a couple of pages of scene setting [from the book] which made people realise that this was no ordinary recipe book,’ enthused Xanthe. And it really isn’t – from the cocktail inspired (pina colada, margarita), to desert inspired (tiramisu? Yes please!) to seasonal Easter nests – there are 80 delicious and imaginative recipes to drool over.

‘What made it extra special was having so many people there that know me as ‘Cookie Girl’ from back in the days when I was knocking on their doors selling them cookies,’ she added. ‘It felt like we had all been on this journey together.’

chic cakestand by Undergrowth Design at design boutique

Image credit: Undergrowth Design at design boutique

When you embark upon your own cupcake journey, make sure the presentation of your delicious wares do the Eat Me! recipes justice. mydeco has a huge selection of cute and stylish cake stands and our design boutique cake stands, (above, by Undergrowth Design) are my favourite.

Guest blogger Sophie Conran on Lord Snowdon and the South Downs 17 March, 2010

Posted by sophieconran in mydeco guest blogger.
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sophie conran

I started the week with an amazing sunny walk on the South Downs with my friend Emma and her two dogs, followed by the first lunch in the garden of the year, with roasted vegetable salad, sliced venison fillet – shot and butchered by my gardener – and yummy cheeses. Then I did a little tidying up in the garden and hopped in the car to London, stopping off in Barnes at the amazing Tobias and the Angel, which is a treasure-trove of antique textiles and homewares. I left with some lovely embroidered English tablecloths, which I am going to sew together with different coloured thread for the garden table.

On Tuesday I had a marketing day at Temple Guiting, our country retreat in the Cotswolds, where we do bespoke country house parties.

Temple Guiting, image credit: Sophie Conran

We showed the guests around the estate and the stunning gardens, gave them a lovely lunch and did a tasting of champagne Henriot, which all seemed to go down very well.

On Wednesday we held a launch party at my flat to celebrate and introduce the cutlery range I have designed for Arthur Price. We filled the flat with 100s of fabulous tulips and entertained Editors from the UK’s homeware magazines (and some from mydeco!). I had to make a speech, which I hate and am terrible at, but thankfully it seemed to go down better than I had expected.

The garden at Temple Guiting, image credit: Sophie Conran

On Thursday, and remembering it was Mother’s Day on Sunday, I arranged for my lovely mum to be sent a huge mixed bunch of Spring flowers: irises, daffodils and red tulips. I stomped across Hyde Park in the sunshine but freezing wind to visit Lord Snowdon’s House. My friend Koto Bolofo is doing a book of photographs of the great man, his life and works, and found a stunning cabinet that he had made in the 60s. I thought I might be able to help having it remade. So I introduced him to Sean Sutcliff, who runs Benchmark, my dad’s woodworking company. We all met for elevenses at Lord Snowdon’s amazing house, to see if the project is viable. It looks like it is, which is very exciting.

My mum then called to say she was in the market for some new sofas, as everyone keeps sliding off the old, uncomfortable ones. So I hotfooted it down to the B&B Italia showroom, where we swooned over a pair of cream-coloured, calf-skin sofas, but decided that the dogs might pee on them and that would make mum cry. So after much deliberating, she decided on a really stunning component sofa that is comfortable but very elegant. Good choice mum.

Friday was a day in the office editing the Junior piece I have written for June’s magazine, working through some of the wedding plans, putting together story boards for the new Portmeirion collection and generally catching up with all my emails with lots of cups of tea.

Teapot by Sophie Conran for Portmeirion, image credit: Portmeirion

Sanderson’s Mad Hatters Tea Party: you’d be Tweedledumb to miss it! 16 March, 2010

Posted by Bethany Wrede Peterson in Bethany's blog.
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Sanderson Hotel, Philippe Starck, Mad Hatters Tea Party

Image credit: Morgans Hotel Group

The hullabaloo of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland may have come and gone, but a true  Mad Hatters tea party – like Lewis Carroll’s original works – is a classic novelty not to wane with the passing trends.

Luring us to fall down the rabbit hole of epicurean delights,  jaw-droppingly impressive central London hotel, Sanderson and its Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea takes the cake!

Last week, we got to hob-nob and fall into Wonderland – and just as surely as we were ooh-ing and aww-ing the swingin’ decor like Alice in her newfound surroundings (the hotel was designed by the ultimate Mad Hatter himself, Philippe Starck), we salivated over the yummy salmon finger sandwiches, the pineapple lollies that make your mouth hot and cold, and the to-die-for Queen of Hearts foam cake.   Perched like tiny works of art atop beautifully bespoke cakestands (that we unfortunately couldn’t fit into our bags!), we suspect we’ll be raving about our sugar-induced Wonderland for a while.

Fall into Wonderland at The Sanderson. The Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea has been extended through the end of May.  To book, call 020 7300 5588

Image credit: Morgans Hotel Group

Exclusive: Kirstie Allsopp on the joys of quilting 16 March, 2010

Posted by CandidaB in Candida's blog, Interviews.
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Image credit: mydeco

Just in time for the much talked about Quilts exhibition at the V&A this month, I caught up with homemade home domestic goddess Kirstie Allsopp about the joys of quilting.

How are you involved with the exhibition?

I will be giving a talk at the V&A about quilting tonight at the Director’s Circle Dinner – I am so excited. I literally cannot wait to walk through the doors and see the exhibition.

It all started when we visited this amazing quilter in Devon, called Jo Colwill.  She is a premier quilter and teaches the craft; that’s what really sparked my interest.

Why do you think the exhibition is important?

Quilts are really special in that each one has a narrative behind it; they magically combine history, artistic talent and skill. Looking at a quilt, you can pick up clues about the circumstances in which it was crafted – the economy, current design trends, what was squandered, what was recycled…

I have always had a huge respect for skilled needlewomen.

V&A quilt

Image credit: Bishops Court quilt, 1690-1700. Unknown maker © V&A Images

Why do you think quilting has had such a revival lately?

I think quilts have always been popular to buy, but somewhere along the way we lost touch with making things. Women today work, and they feel out of touch with the act of creating something. I think there’s a new demand for doing things which ground you in family life.  If you’re on a train miles away going to a meeting, for example, and you are sewing or quilting, it transports you to your family and your home.

That’s another reason quilting is so popular: it’s portable. You can do it anywhere.

Also, if you look at the evolution of the quilt in America, it started very much as a community project, and I think this still lives on today. People love groups – I have worked with a few crafts groups – knitting, sewing etc – and everyone there is so happy to socialise as well as learn. You come away with so much more than just a skill.

Do you quilt? Honestly?

At first I was daunted by the size of them, I won’t lie. But that changed when I worked with Angel, from London-based design shop Tobias and the Angel. She taught me how to make quilted lavender cushions, and it was such fun and really easy. Small quilted things like that make great presents for the home.

Do many men quilt, do you think?

I have only ever seen one, but I am sure there will be more!

mydeco goes under Ella Doran’s umbrella (Ella Ella) 12 March, 2010

Posted by mydecoblog in design boutique blog.
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If there’s one thing Ella Doran is, it’s creative. Her eye for detail and colour bring the generic mug, coaster and tray to life with vibrant photography and eye-catching subject matter. So no doubt you’ll know (and love – how can you not?) her kitchenware even if you don’t know Ella. But there’s far more to it than flowers and sweets – as I found out when I popped along to her Cheshire Street shop.
Ella Doran Magnolia mug and tea

What was once mostly studio with a shop window attached, is now a colourful  boutique with green leaved umbrellas, knitted children’s chairs, Sweetie Love mugs and a whole lot more. She’s had to expand – demand for Doran’s trademark photographic designs has soared over the past few years and she sells with John Lewis as well as being part of our exclusive design boutique.

So, just how did she carve such a ‘boumercial’ niche for herself? (that’s boutique/commercial btw. See what I did?) She said: ‘There’s a lot of beautiful illustrative designs out there, and we are offering something different with my bold vibrant photographic eye and passion for colour and detail.

‘Photography is becoming more and more widely used; with the advent of the digital camera everyone can essentially take a great photo, but I shoot specifically and work on the image in post production creating repeats from often quite small aspects of the photograph.’

Ella Doran Geo wallpaper and tray and Sunlight through Leaves  blind and placemats

Her lovely assistant, Ruth, showed me some examples. Take her Geo collection, above left. The original shoot focussed on just a small section of the geometric design, yet the post-photo work repeated the image seamlessly to create it’s eye-fuzzing effect – you’d never know!

This brings me, nearly as seamlessly, to Ella’s brand new (quote) ‘never before seen’ Geo Play silk scarf. Ruth showed me a sample and it’s so new, in fact, that the hemlines still needed to be sewn.

Ella Doran Churchill Sweetie Love mug and Pinky umbrella

Image credit: Ella Doran @ design boutique

Ella’s latest success has been her umbrellas – made by the manufacturers that keep the Queen’s silvery head dry: ‘They invented the see-through umbrella for the Queen, so she could stay dry and see people,’ explains Ruth.

‘The Pinky umbrella, aka Meadow umbrella, is a take on this design with a floral edge. We sold out with the four trial designs and our manufacturer had to order extra to meet the demand.’

Ella Doran's Artists brushes mug and tray

My favourite design, Artist’s Tools, above.

Watch out for more new products on the Ella-horizon: a new stripey collection for men, new designs for Churchill China plus aprons, tea towels and oven gloves in her Sweetie Love pattern. A brilliant way to brighten up your cooking – afterall, who wants generic white oven gloves with those tell-tale scorch marks of black sausages and tears…?

What do you think of Ella Doran? Rate her with a comment below >

3D rooms get ‘Aliced’ in our Alice in Wonderland competition 12 March, 2010

Posted by Bethany Wrede Peterson in 3D room design, Bethany's blog.
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Our Alice in Wonderland Facebook treasure hunt might be over, but we’ve got some fantastic Alice 3D rooms from our community to share with you!  Out of 138 entries, here are some of our favourites  from our Alice in Wonderland 3D room competition.

3D room: chezzamc

Alice in Wonderland

3D room: Isaly

Alice in Wonderland

3D room: thisisinteresting

Alice in Wonderland

3D room: djinnstar

Alice in Wonderland

3D room: limina88

Alice in Wonderland

3D room: karma kitten

Alice in Wonderland

3D room: PaiviL

Thanks to everyone who contributed!  This competition was a great success and everyone’s rooms were so creative this was such a hard decision!

Be sure to check out all the entries here

WIN the final Alice in Wonderland prize: an Undergrowth ice cream bowl 11 March, 2010

Posted by CandidaB in Candida's blog.
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Today’s prize – and sadly the last – is this saucy ice cream bowl by design boutique’s Undergrowth, worth £45:

To win, go to our Gifts for Alice page and look for the item with the ‘we love’ logo. Then, hunt for that prize in one of our amazing Alice in Wonderland images on mydeco’s Facebook Fan page . When you find the hidden prize, just tag the image with your name.

Get hunting and good luck!

Guest blogger Sophie Conran on spring bulbs and her new cutlery range 9 March, 2010

Posted by sophieconran in mydeco guest blogger.
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Hello, I am Sophie Conran, home body and mum of two gorgeous kids. Over the next four weeks, I am going to be writing a blog and I really hope you can join me!

Image credit: Dominic Blackmore

I write for two fabulous magazines: Junior, for whom I have been doing the yummy food pages for about 3 years, and more recently House Beautiful, which is really great fun – check out the current issue for some special Mother’s Day ideas.

One simple gift idea is to group together a collection of white vases and jugs and fill them with irises and daffodils – the bulbs are really easy to plant and the colours look stunning. For something more subtle, try filling them with white narcissus and hydrangeas. Have a look at Candida’s blog on my spring bulb workshop for more tips and inspiration.

As well as writing, I also work with a number of businesses as a designer. I have created a range of tableware with Portmeirion, some wonderful wallpaper with Arthouse and a range of elegant cutlery with Arthur Price, soon to be launched at John Lewis:

Image credit: Sophie Conran

I’ve been working closely with Tony and Simon for the past few months and am really excited about the launch.

Next week, I will be talking about my countryside retreats, so watch this space!